CAFOD’s Live Simply Award scheme is starting to take off across the country and, slowly but surely, across the Leeds Diocese as well.
Here are some brief updates on parishes in the Leeds Diocese who are working towards the award. What is stopping your parish from taking up the challenge to Live Simply?

Good Shepherd church community, Mytholmroyd Janet Almond reports:The Good Shepherd RC Church in Mytholmroyd is yet tochurch stall submit our finalised and formal plans but none the less have made a good start. Our children and youth are leading by example. At the end of November they helped with a Fair-trade Tombola stall at the Mytholmroyd Christmas Fair and the following week held their home Christmas Fair. Over £450 was raised, enough for 1 cow, 3 pigs and a mosquito net, purchased through CAFOD’s World Gifts. In addition, the children are making ‘Live Simply’ pledges, and encouraging family and parishioners to do likewise. Weekly suggestions are published in the bulletin.

Our Lady of Kirkstall parish, Leeds Michael Emly reports:
the words simply, sustainably and solidarity in front of a church altarThe Live Simply Project is continuing very well in its second year:
• the “year 2 relaunch” at all Masses on October 6/7th made a real impact;
• the Live Simply Day of Recollection in October was attended by 20 people and was very well received;
• the parish collected toiletries again this December; these will be distributed to refugees by the St. Vincent Centre;
• the monthly Live Simply bulletins continue to maintain a high standard, with a number of different people contributing content;
• the ongoing monthly gardening sessions have made it much easier to keep the church grounds tidy;
• interest and engagement continues to be shown by various groups and individuals across the parish.

We are now starting to think in detail about how we might invite assessment for the Live Simply award in the Spring of 2019.

St John Mary Vianney parish, Leeds
cover of newssheetThe Parish Action Group (formerly the Women’s Group) has taken on board the Live Simply initiative under Julie Brownrigg’s direction. Open parish Live Simply meetings have taken place involving mainly members of the PAG and members of the CAFOD Group and its wider group of Supporters.

They have launched the scheme to the whole parish for Advent with the leaflet shown being given to all parishioners at the two churches of the parish. An adapted version of the Live Simply prayer is being said before masses during Advent and they have had positive feedback about this.

They are in the process of meeting with sacramental groups at both churches and asking them to get involved with the challenge. They intend to use a Calendar of Major events for 2019 to find ways of incorporating the themes of Live Simply into these events.
Julie Brownrigg added, “We hope to develop our actions in the New Year. Our next focus will be Fairtrade and during Lent we intend to hold several meetings on Laudato Si and presentations on what is climate change and how it is affecting the poorest in the world.

Are there any other parishes out there who are thinking about taking on this challenge? There is much support available directly from CAFOD and the Commission itself will help in any way it can.
And, of course, if you do start to work on it please let us know what you are doing in your parish. Each parish is different and responds to the challenges of the Live Simply Scheme in different ways. Commission member Trish Sandbach (from St Benedict’s parish – still the only parish in the Leeds Diocese to have obtained the award) comments “I recently took part in a Live Simply evaluation at a parish in the Middlesbrough Diocese. What they have done is quite different to the actions that we took at St.Benedict’s – I think this is one of the strengths of the scheme: that it has the flexibility to bring renewal to very different sorts of parishes and get people to link their faith with action for Climate Change and to act in solidarity with the world’s poorest’.